chat loading...

Staff Book Reviews

Book Review: Protecting the Gift
De Becker, Gavin
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This was a very informative, and honestly slightly scary book. The takeaway is to heed your intuition and gut-feeling regarding the safety of your children. We brought Zoe to a Kidpower workshop, which was just wonderful. Zoe now has some tools to keep herself safe and I feel a bit less worried. Still worried of course, but a bit less... I definitely recommend this book to all parents, especially mothers.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: Brown Girl Dreaming
Woodson, Jacqueline
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This autobiography written in free verse by Jacqueline Woodson is an excellent insight into growing up as an African American girl in the 1960's.
It is a very moving portrayal of the role of family (grandparents, parents, uncles & aunts and siblings) in a life of a child. The author also gives the reader a definite sense of place, whether it is Ohio, South Carolina or Brooklyn, NY. Highly recommended.

Reviewer's Name: Lisa
Genres:
Book Review: 7 Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness
Metaxas, Eric
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A great book with mini biographies of 7 men who made choices that changed their society and left legacies for us. The writing style is informal. I learned things about these famous men that I hadn't known before.

A great inspirational book for teens and adults.

Reviewer's Name: Julie
Book Review: Mosquitoland
Arnold, David
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

When she discovers that her mother actually is sick back in Cleveland, Mim steals a thousand dollar emergency cash fund from her stepmother and hops a Greyhound bus headed north. The details of Mim’s personal story are revealed through the reflections she writes in her journal. Her musings are frequently funny, super snarky and make the motley crew she meets along the way more memorable.

She says of her bus driver:
“I’ve only known two other Carls in my lifetime—an insurgent moonshiner and a record store owner—both of whom taught me important... life lessons.
In my book, Carls are a top-notch species”.

On the bus, the thousand-mile journey takes a few turns that Mim could never see coming. Then she must define what it means to be a Mim.

Reviewer's Name: Renee
Genres:
Dumplin'
Murphy, Julie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I could really relate to Willowdean who does not have a skinny body yet decides to enter the local teen pageant. It takes a lot of guts for her to enter and it challenges her relationship with her mom who runs the pageant. Willowdean also works with Bo who likes her a lot, but she has a hard time believing it since she is her own worst critic of her weight. I love books with unique and complex characters and Willowdean is definitely that! Highly recommended.

Reviewer's Name: Lisa
Genres:
Book Review: George
Gino, Alex
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book made me cry. I read it in one sitting. It took me about 3 hours. I just kept turning the pages as fast as possible. It was beautifully written. I just felt for George and wanted to protect her from all her pain. I'm not transgendered and I don't know how it feels to be so, but I imagine that this is exactly right. Wonderful.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: The Best of Enemies
Lancaster, Jen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I didn't like any of the characters in the beginning and almost put the book down and walked away. I am so glad I didn't! I ended up truly enjoying this book and the way the history of Jack and Kitty was revealed kind of slowly so you understood WHY they were the way they were. And it had a great ending!

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Genres:
Book Review: Honolulu
Brennert, Alan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A young girl desperate to escape her stifling existence in Korea in the early 1900s decides to become a "picture-bride" to a man starting life in Hawaii. This story was beautifully written, we follow Jin throughout her life, marriage, struggles and triumphs in Hawaii. Absolutely loved it. If you liked this - make sure to read Alan Brennert's other book, Moloka'i!

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Genres:
Book Review: The Notorious Pagan Jones
Berry, Nina
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Pagan Jones was a 1960s teen movie superstar until a terrible accident happened landing her in juvenile detention. A mysterious stranger
arranges her release, only if she will star in a movie being shot in Berlin.
This story is a fascinating race through the city at a time when the Berlin Wall is just being built. While the story has very fun moments (you get a great taste of 60s culture and clothing), there are also real characters and events sprinkled throughout that make it very interesting!

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Genres:
Book Review: The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster
Wilbanks, Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

What would you do if you found a door in your backyard that led to the past? Annie and Elsbeth are going to find out! This book has a little something in it for everyone - magic, time travel, history, heartwarming characters, a mystery, and a wonderfully grouchy old lady who I wish I could have tea with. I absolutely loved it!

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Genres:
Book Review: George
Gino, Alex
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

George is a well-written book about the confusion of a boy who knows that deep down that she is really a girl. Writing from George's point of view, the author expresses George's frustration as a transgender child who unfortunately experiences bullying from the other kids. Luckily, George does have a best friend who understands and supports her. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

Reviewer's Name: Lisa
Book Review: The Maze Runner
Dashner, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is a very good book. It's a teen fiction book, but I didn't notice that like I normally do. The main character found himself in a bizarre situation with very little memory of his past and who he was. This book was really about a group of kids overcoming insurmountable odds to beat a game, the success or failure of which determined their lives. There was a lot of mystery about what was going on behind the scenes. Small pieces became known as the book progressed, just enough to pique my curiosity, but not enough to ruin the suspense. I'd like to read the others in this series. Really VERY well done.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Genres:
Book Review: Far Far Away
McNeal, Tom
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is and isn't your typical fairy tale. It is haunting, but not because Jacob Grim is the narrator ghost that only Jeremy can hear. Jeremy's mother may or may not be dead, a child may or may not be missing, the sheriff may or may not be evil, the baker may or may not be jolly, the girl may or may not be gotten and it may or may not have a happy ending. But read it and see if you can predict what happens in Far Far Away...

Reviewer's Name: Renee
Ash & Bramble
Prineas, Sarah
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is a wonderful story that is set in a cruel fairy tale world filled with Godmothers (but not the Disney version of her), shoemakers and glass slippers. I loved the characters of Pin and Shoe and their fight against what is expected of them. The author has created a world that I became completely involved in. Highly recommended!

Reviewer's Name: Lisa
Genres:
Book Review: Still Alice
Genova, Lisa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

What a remarkable book! So real and poignant, I can't believe that this is a novel. This book is told from Alice's point of view as she copes her life with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. The title says it all, she's Still Alice in spite of the effects of this devastating disease. Highly recommended.

Reviewer's Name: Lisa
Genres:
5-Minute Palace Pet Stories
Fliess, Sue
2 stars = Meh
Review:

This book is little girl crack. It's unfair. They can't resist it. I mean, princesses and cute little pets with big eyes and impish smiles? Stories about their adventures? And did I mention, princesses?! Zoe ate it up. If it were up to her, this book would get 5,000,000 pink, sparkly stars. But it's not. I had to read it to her. 5 TIMES. Make it stop.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: Return to the Hundred Acre Wood
Benedictus, David
1 star = Yuck!
Review:

My daughter loves Winnie the Pooh. We read the first collection and she wanted to read more so I found this book, excited to read it to her. Imagine my surprise when I learned this was not written by A. A. Milne. The jacket looks like an A. A. Milne book. The illustrations look like an A. A. Milne book. But it's an imposter! My initial reaction was one of shock, but I decided to give it a try. I got two sentences in before I threw it down in disgust. This is merely a sad attempt at spoofing A. A. Milne's writing. I find it hard to believe that A. A. Milne's family would have agreed to this. If I could give this book less than one star, I would. Yuck!

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: The Hired Girl
Schlitz, Laura Amy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Newbery winning author Laura Amy Schlitz has written a wonderful story set in 1911 about 14-year-old Joan Skraggs who runs away from a dismal home life on a farm to Baltimore where she finds employment as a hired girl in a Jewish household. The book is written as Joan's diary so it reveals her innermost thoughts and feelings which made me really want her to succeed. Her deep love of literature really hit a nerve for me too! Highly recommended.

Reviewer's Name: Lisa
Genres:
Book Review: The Terrible Two
Barnett, Mac
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A great book for reluctant readers, particularly boys. It started out okay, Miles was a bit lame, but this was the authors' intention. They set him up as the novice prankster. Niles schools both Miles and the reader in the fine art of pranking. Miles schools Niles in how to be a friend. Well played, Terrible Two.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: Fever, 1793
Anderson, Laurie Halse
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This started off as a typical teen novel, adult writer trying too hard to relate to young people. But as the book went on, either I got used to it, or the narrative improved. I positively enjoyed about the halfway point onward. Good historical fiction. Educational and compelling.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Genres:

Pages